So, I’ve noticed a tendency among students to not know their professors’ names. And this really confuses me. They only have to learn 4 or 5 at a time, and the name is written on the syllabus. Aren’t they checking the syllabus to figure out the assignment?

I remember at my grad school, a student once came to drop off his paper while the grad students were hanging out in the lounge. He saw the boxes ready to accept papers, and hesitated, and we said “hey, can we help?” There were different boxes for each TA, and he didn’t know his TA’s name. So we said, “okay, what color hair? describe him.” and he looked a little blank.

The next day I reminded my students of my name.

Another time, four of my students had encountered the same document I had assigned in a different class they were taking that term, and I said, “oh, who teaches that class?”

And they said, “um….he’s pretty thin….kinda short….really energetic” and not one of four came up with his name. And they seemed to be enjoying his class.*

I promptly wrote my name on the board. They laughed, but I wasn’t really joking.

*which I told the prof, sans the “but they forgot your name” part.